Kevin Leslie Baker leaving court last year.
Kevin Leslie Baker leaving court last year. Kerri-Anne Mesner

Former Neerkol worker faces fresh historical charges

A FORMER Neerkol worker, who has been ordered to stand trial for 82 historical child abuse charges, has had nine fresh charges laid against him including indecent treatment of children.

Kevin Leslie Baker, 79, faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court for the nine fresh charges - four common assault counts, two assault occasioning bodily harm counts, two indecent treatment of a child under 14 and one indecent treatment of a child under 16.

Defence lawyer Brian McGowran said his client would be contesting the fresh charges which involve four alleged victims.

He said Baker was set down for indictment of 82 other charges in the Rockhampton District Court in the next few weeks.

Baker entered not guilty pleas to the 82 charges at Rockhampton Magistrates Court on August 3.

Those charges include 11 charges of rape, eight common assault, 31 charges of indecent treatment of boys under 14, five indecent treatment of girls under 17, 15 charges of carnal knowledge, four indecent assault on a male, five indecent assault on a female, one attempt to procure indecent practice between males, one charge of deprivation of liberty and one charge of wounding.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes handed up 75 statements from 52 witnesses - including one priest - during the August committal proceeding.

The 82 charges arose from seven alleged victims.

The alleged offences took place at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage, situated at Kabra west of Rockhampton, between 1951 and 1976.

Sgt Janes also handed up 80 exhibitions including video walk-throughs at Neerkol taken during the investigation, photographs of the orphanage, aerial images of the grounds, video interviews with victims, sketches, medical records from various hospitals, Rockhampton Shire Council documents, death certificates, birth certificates, a marriage certificate, and documents from the Department of Child Safety and other records kept by a nun.

The orphanage was run by the Sisters of Mercy from 1885 until it was permanently closed in 1978.

Magistrate Jeff Clarke ordered the nine fresh charges be adjourned until March 6 and Baker's original bail was enlarged with the additional charges included.